Spring is a time of rejuvenation—fresh air, warm breezes, open windows and new starts. Unfortunately, springtime also signals the dreaded tax season, that heart-pounding, stress-inducing experience that adds a heavy weight to the shoulders during an otherwise care-free time of year.
For some people, the actual act of preparing taxes is stressful, and for others, it’s that great unknown of where earned income went and how they’re going to pay a hefty sum to the taxman. Money in general is a huge source of stress for a lot of people, and tax season doesn’t help relieve that stress in any way.
This year, ease the stress of tax season with a few simple steps:
Use tax preparation software.
If it’s the math of tax time that causes you anxiety—and your taxes aren’t overly complicated—invest in software that makes the process much more manageable. Software makes it a lot more user-friendly to fill in the intimidating worksheets and forms put together by the IRS. Simple questions break down the process, and by following the easy-to-follow steps laid out by the software, you’ll be done with your taxes before you even have time to stress out.
Hire a professional.
Yes, hiring someone to prepare your taxes will cost money, but it’s a worthwhile investment if tax season really rattles your nerves, especially if you have multiple forms and worksheets to submit. Gather all the 1040s, 1099s and other forms that have arrived in the mail, and find a well-respected CPA to sort through the math. Tax preparers know how to navigate the jargon that frustrates a lot of people, and they know the loopholes that will help save you money. They know which questions to ask, which forms to fill out and how to make the numbers work in your favor. Don’t think of your accountant as your enemy; he is your comrade in getting through this difficult time.
Break it down.
If devoting several hours to tax preparation induces anxiety, start the process early and only tackle a little bit at a time. Work for an hour, then set it aside, or commit to filling out just one side of a worksheet before calling it quits for the day. Take the overwhelming process and break it down into manageable pieces, and you’ll be done with the job before you know it.
Agree not to fight.
If you hate filing taxes because it inevitably involves a fight with your partner, make an agreement before you start the process not to fight over money and spending habits. That’s a conversation you might need to have to manage the process better for next year, but it does no good to bring up hard feelings right now. Anxieties about all sorts of issues can arise when stress levels are tuned high, so find a way to communicate that doesn’t leave the two of you angry with each other. Perhaps you can write each other notes or step outside the tax preparation environment frequently to avoid accusing each other of things you might regret later.
During the month of April, The Specific Chiropractic is hosting a Stress Relief Happy Hour! Ask your doctor when the event is so you can receive a bit of pampering from us!
“How to Cope with Tax-Time Stress.” WebMD.com. Retrieved March 24, 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/cope-tax-time-stress.